Gossip betrays people’s trust as information that should have been held confidential leaks out. It possibly ruins their reputation and harms relationships. In previous posts we considered how gossip can destroy the effectiveness of prayer chains. Due to the destructive nature of gossip, perhaps we should pray similar to the psalmist when he asked God, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Ps. 141:3).
General Principles About Our Communication To Apply to Our Temptation to Gossip
Since “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Prov. 18:21), we need a biblical handle on the seriousness of gossip. Begin with broad guidance about our communication.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Ps. 19:14)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph. 4:29)
Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Eph. 4:24-25)
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. (2 Tim. 2:16)
When tempted to gossip, let’s go back to these verses and ask if what we’re about to share is pleasing in God’s sight, helpful for building others up, righteous and holy. Or, does it fit under the category of unwholesome talk, falsehood, or godless chatter?
A Biblical View of the Destructiveness of Gossiping
Now look at how God gets specific about gossip:
- Gossip is a cancerous condition, eating away at us from the inside out. “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” (Prov. 18:8)
- Gossip is a break in integrity. “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” (Prov. 11:13)
- Gossip is a symptom of a depraved mind out of fellowship with God (Rom. 1:28-32). When we gossip, we are giving in to the old sin nature.
- Gossip is a divisive activity. “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” (Prov. 16:28) — However, “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down” (Prov. 26:20). Let’s not fuel the fire but rather “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
- Gossip is a violation of love. When we gossip it’s like we’re secretly slandering a person. This is not the loving thing to do for “love does no harm to its neighbor” (Rom. 13:10).
- Gossip is a tool in the devil’s hand. Gossip follows after the ways of Satan who is called an “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). The word “devil” means prone to slander, slanderous. Remember the warning in Ephesians 4:27, “Do not give the devil a foothold.”
May these truths challenge us all to pray, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Ps. 141:3)